Resources for Mappers

Resources for Mappers

Mapping Software


The latest release of OCAD is available from the OCAD website.

OCAD 6 is available from the OCAD website as a freeware version but note that it is not compatible with Windows 7 or later.

Open Orienteering Mapper

The latest release of the open-source Open Orienteering Mapper is available from the Open Orienteering Website. This software runs on Android, Linux, macOS and Windows.

ISOM 2017-2

In April 2019, IOF Council approved the publication of ISOM 2017-2.

Mappers may find the ISOM 2017 Symbol Transition guide useful when updating maps drawn to previous versions of ISOM. The ISOM 2017 changes document provides some background and the reasoning behind the changes made in ISOM 2017. Some of the changes referred to in this document have now been superseded by revisions in ISOM 2017-2.

Please direct any specific issues (or resources you would like to share) to

Significant contributions by Bruce Bryant, David Olivant and Erik Peckett to the introduction of ISOM 2017 to British Orienteering are acknowledged.

ISSprOM 2019-2

In April 2019, the IOF map commission replaced the sprint map specification ISSOM 2007 with ISSprOM 2019. The changes from ISSOM to ISSprOM are described here.  In Jan 2022 ISSprOM has been revised to ISSprOM 2019-2.  The new spec is here and revisions are detailed below.


British Orienteering Symbol Sets

British Orienteering Symbol Sets

ISOM 2017-2 and ISSprOM 2019-2 symbol sets, including course setting symbols, OS and EA logos, are provided in OCAD 9 to 2018 and Open Orienteering Mapper file formats. These latest symbol sets are primarily for drawing new maps. The ISOM 2017-2 symbol sets may be used to convert an existing map to use the new symbols but maps will need to be checked carefully after conversion. A useful method is to export a bmp from the old map and open it as a background map in the converted file.

Variation of the British Orienteering Symbol sets from IOF specifications

ISOM 2017-2

The "BOF" OCAD Symbol sets for ISOM spec are based closely on the default IOF / OCAD sets and are very similar. The current BOF sets were based on an early ISOM 2017 OCAD set and then updated to reflect the ISOM 2017-2 revisions. Both the OCAD and BOF sets have continued to be tweaked and as a result there are a number of minor differences mainly related to the order and details (Naming, CMYK values, Overprint settings) of the colours in the colour table.

The British Orienteering ISOM 2017-2 sets still retain Overprint mode on Purple and Brown 100% which in most cases gives better printed results than the IOF specification which moves the colours down the colour table and removes overprint mode.

Some of the new ISOM 2017 area symbols (Broken Ground: 113, 114, Boulder Field: 208, 209, Stony Ground: 210, 211 & 212) in the BOF symbol sets use a symbol "Structure" with better backward compatibility for earlier versions of OCAD and are designed to overlap generally without interference patterns. The default OCAD sets have issues in both respects.

Jan 2022 revisions to ISOM2017-2 are detailed below.

ISSprOM 2019-2

The “BOF” OCAD Symbol set for ISSprOM was developed separately from the default OCAD set due to delays in the implementation of ISSprOM and quite a few (unexpected) late revisions to the final spec. This has resulted in a British Orienteering ISSprOM set that has a number of subtle differences, mainly intended to improve legibility particularly with the large number of Urban ISSprOM maps that we have in the UK. These are detailed in the ISSprOM symbol set file if it is opened directly rather than used as a "New Map" but also in a pdf which has examples of the British Orienteering variations and the ISSprOM 2019-2 changes – here.


Download Mapping Symbol Sets

Members of Map Advisory Group have produced new symbol set files dated Jan 2022. These provide updated copyright symbols and address an issue with 416.1 (alternative veg boundary symbol).

A zip file of symbols for OS and Environment Agency Lidar copyright for the years 2023 – 2025 is available here. The zip contains files for OCAD versions 9 to 2020 and Open Orienteering Mapper.

ISSprOM 2019-2:

v1.0  New IssprOM 2019-2. Jan 2022 revisions to IOF spec:

  • Dark Green added to colour table (CMYK 100-0-80-30)
  • New symbols 411, 501.2, 512.1, 512.3
  • Revisions to 709 hatch and boundary
  • 411       Uncrossable Vegetation/Hedge - shall not be crossed: Dark Green
  • 417        Prominent Large Tree - symbol diameter enlarged
  • 501.2    Step or edge of paved area at lower level
  • 512.1    Bridge where it is passable underneath

                                  if not passable underneath, use 515 uncrossable wall

  • 512.3    Area passable at 2 levels
  • 709.000   Out-of-bounds area
  • 709.001   Out-of-bounds area with dashed line boundary
  • 709.003   Out-of-bounds area with solid line boundary

                                 Cross hatch spacing increased to 1.2mm

                                 Cross hatch lines: 0.2mm. Boundary Lines: 0.25mm


ISOM 2017-2 changes from ISOM 2017:

v1.6    Jan 2022 revisions to IOF spec:

  • 416   Distinct vegetation boundary: Change of colour Dark Green (CMYK 100 0 80 30)
  • 513.1  Wall: Change of symbol number to 513.1
  • 513.2  Retaining wall: New symbol
  • 521     Building: Change of colour of large buildings: Black 50%
  • 601     Magnetic north line: Line width of blue line reduced to 0.18mm
  • 709     Out-of-bounds area:

                        Change of line width of cross hatch: 0.2mm

                        Change of gap of cross hatch: 1.2mm

Note ISOM 2017-2 dimensions here are for a map at 1:15000 scale and should be enlarged for 1:10000 (150% size).

For an experienced OCAD user, addressing just these specific symbol changes should be sufficient to update a map from ISOM 2017 to 2017-2 without doing a full symbol set conversion.

Symbol Sets

BOF Symbols Sets OCAD 9

BOF Symbols Sets OCAD 10

BOF Symbols Sets OCAD 11

BOF Symbols Sets OCAD 12

BOF Symbols Sets OCAD 2018

BOF Symbols Sets OOM

NB Click on the links above and click download 


Each OCAD zip has 5 symbol sets that need to be extracted and copied into the OCAD symbol folder:

  • BOF O Map 10000 v1.6_ISOM2017-2
  • BOF O Map 15000 v1.6_ISOM2017-2
  • BOF O Map 4000 v1_ISSprOM2019-2
  • BOF Symbol Set for School Orienteering Maps 2019 2000_120
  • BOF Symbol Set for School Orienteering Maps 2019 1000_160

The OCAD 11, 12 and 2018 sets have an additional text file that also needs to be copied into the same folder.

The OOM has 5 symbol sets that need to be extracted and copied into the correct scale folders within the OOM Symbol Sets folder. Folders for 1000 and 2000 will need to be created.


Guidance Documents for updating map symbols

Please note: The content relating to ISOM (2000) in these guidance documents has been superseded by the publication of ISOM 2017-2 and ISSprOM. The principles of conversion may remain useful for later software versions.



OCAD Helpline

British Orienteering Map Group has set up an OCAD Help Line. This is organised initially by Bruce Bryant of Octavian Droobers who can be contacted by email. If he is unable to answer your question then he will refer it to others in the Map Group.


British Orienteering Map Layout template for Level A Events

Use the template provided below to meet the requirements for a standard layout for Level A event maps as set out in British Orienteering Rules, Appendix D - Mapping.

The font for the Map Layout Template below 'Muli' can be downloaded here.


Ordnance Survey

From 2010 a new contract with the Ordnance Survey (OS) has been imposed on British Orienteering and there are several consequences resulting.

Printed Maps

Firstly, they are claiming their copyright on virtually all orienteering maps. Obviously, maps drawn directly from OS material are included but also other maps based on photogrammetric plots (set up using spot heights) and even those with national grid references are covered under the heading “derived data”.

This means that all these maps should include the statement “© Crown Copyright (year) 100015287.”  For example © Crown Copyright 2020 100015287.”

Website Maps

The size limit of maps that clubs may include on their website must not be greater than 200 sq. cms of paper at the original scale. The image on the internet cannot be capable of being edited or customised in any way, neither must it disclose any addressable coordinates. There is also an annual reproduction charge for each image displayed of £4.75 payable to Ordnance Survey through British Orienteering.

The map extract should include the wording “© Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. 100015287. " and the website should state “This website contains mapping data licenced from the Ordnance Survey with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office © Crown Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Licence Number 100015287”

Maps used with Routegadget are covered as they are sent to the Routegadget website and as they are accessed from there they are covered by the Routegadget OS licence.

POC Maps

Some clubs wish to include maps of permanent courses for downloading. The option given to British Orienteering is that this is not covered by their agreement and clubs would be required to take out their own licence for each map at considerable expense. A preferable alternative would be for the maps to be placed on the British Orienteering website using the POC management system with links provided from the controlling club site.

School Maps

For school maps produced by members of British Orienteering, the maps should include an event or activity number. This will provide the mapper with insurance for public liability during the survey. However, if the map is not to be used for a British Orienteering registered event, the OS copyright agreement for the map should be provided by the local authority as it will not be covered by the British Orienteering contract. Mappers who produce orienteering maps of schools and other educational establishments should be aware that the Ordnance Survey has changed their licence arrangements following the introduction of schools opting out of Local Education Authority (LEA) control and that this affects the production of orienteering maps for academies and private schools.  Further information and guidance can be found here

OS and LiDAR Copyright Logos

OS and Lidar copyright 2020-21 OCAD9

OS and Lidar copyright 2020-21 OCAD10

OS and Lidar copyright 2020-21 OCAD11

OS and Lidar copyright 2020-21 OCAD12

OS and Lidar Copyright 2020-21

Please note: These links have been tested with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, if you only have Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge and have trouble using the links, please contact the National Office.


Cartographic Software

  • OCAD – Popular cartographic software, developed by Hans Stienegger, for producing Orienteering and other kinds of maps.
  • Open Orienteering Mapper – Open Source cartographic software available for Android, Linux, macOS and Windows operating systems.
  • Condes – Course planning program and map over-printing software.
  • Adobe Illustrator - Software that is commercially used for cartography and mapping.
  • MapStudio – Website offering symbols and resources for drawing Orienteering maps in Adobe Illustrator on either Macintosh or Windows platforms. The symbols on the website available for download have been compressed using the Stuffit program, popular on the Macintosh.  Macintosh and Windows versions of this program can be downloaded separately from
  • Ortelius – For Mac users
  • List of software for orienteering (including mapping)


International Orienteering Federation

The website for the International Orienteering Federation Map Commission including links to mapping specifications for other orienteering disciplines, Control Descriptions etc.


Groups and Organisations for Mappers



Magnetic Variation Calculators


OCAD AND GPS Websites regarding using GPS with Ocad


UK Online Mapping and Aerial Photography


Printing of Maps

IOF Printer Test Resources for download:



Mapping Schools

When mapping school grounds, you may wish to refer to the School Mapping Specifications and the School symbols sets contained in the zip files linked above.


Support and Guidance Documents

Utilising Environment Agency Lidar Data

Creating Base Map Templates in OOM from LiDAR and other sources


The following information and resources may be of use to you:

Guidelines for Complex Urban Structures